Number of hospital patients on rise, mask easing plan paused
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Finland has increased in recent weeks, reported Xinhua.
There were 820 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Thursday, of which 38 were in intensive care. New infections are still reported in the thousands every day.
Aki Lindén, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, reminded on Thursday morning through national broadcaster Yle that the pandemic is not over, although it is no longer the number one topic of discussion.
However, Mika Salminen, Director of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)'s Health Safety Department, considered the situation "fairly steady" in Finland.
THL said last week that it intended to lighten its current mask recommendation, but the plan was abandoned due to high infection rates, among other things.
"It was good that THL withdrew the relaxation of the recommendation. There has been a reflection on how great the impact of masks is, but masks also have symbolic value in bringing to our minds that we live in the midst of an epidemic, " Lindén was quoted by Yle.
According to Salminen, the mask recommendation has been removed in all other Nordic countries but Finland.
Lindén estimated that Finland would be in a "much more normal" situation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic at the turn of May-June. Salminen also said that the situation is likely to ease during the spring due to seasonal fluctuations.
However, Yle reports pointed out that setbacks may come before that, adding that the fact that the nurses' strike threat has expanded has its own effect on the situation.
On Thursday, a nurse organization filed a strike warning in 13 hospital districts. The strike would last two weeks from April 1 and involve a total of about 40,000 nurses.